CLEVELAND resident Fiona Moore is passionate and experienced in the field of special education and will soon be lending her expertise to the people of Mongolia.
In April, Ms Moore will head to Ulaanbaatar to live and work for four months with Australian Volunteers Program.
She will bring 25 years' experience in special education to her work with Autism Mongolia, a non-government organisation established in 2014.
"There's very little known about autism in Mongolia," Ms Moore said.
"Some people see it as a disease, rather than (looking at) its neurological impacts.
"I'll be working with psychologists and teachers, supporting the parents and working with the wider community as well.
"I'm really looking forward to sharing my knowledge and being able to support a developing country that still sees autism in such a negative or unknown light.
"Everyone who is autistic has some quality that is quite heroic that the rest of us don't have. I want to help share the gifts and the benefits (of autism)."
Ms Moore has been involved with Australian Volunteers Program for five years, having previously taken an eight month role training teachers in the Maldives.
The organisation matches skilled volunteers with partner organisations in developing countries, with roles varying from prosecutors to chocolatiers.
Australian Volunteers Program also has a network which allows volunteers to meet up after returning from their assignments.
Ms Moore said the program focussed on sustainable and locally-led development.
"They don't want people going over there who think they're going to save the world," she said.
"It's not that sort of thing. It's working together with that host organisation to create little bits of change and build their capacity so they're able to continue on with things."
Cultural differences could be hard to adapt to but the experience was always rewarding, she said.
"It's so different, the sense of time and pace (in some Indo-Pacific countries)," she said.
"(But) I find if you work somewhere, it's a different sort of travel.
"You really get to engage with the community."
For more information about Australian Volunteers Program, visit their website.
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